So, I grew up in Washington State. Our state motto is "We don't tan, we rust." The celestial beauty of Western Washington comes at a cost of 120 inches of rain a year and our feet evolving into cute little webbed duck feet. Tanning isn't something we do where I come from. We're proud of the transparency of our skin. Just like in some cultures large women with good child bearing hips are considered desirable, in Washington the whiter your skin, the more fertile your are. I never laid out in a cute little swimsuit after lathering myself with suntan lotion, I was busy with the daily maintenance of making sure no moss grew on my north side.
You get the picture right? No tan, transparent skin, I'm ok with that. Then I moved to Utah where weird, tan girls walked around proudly sporting their sun kissed skin.
After a time I eventually decided to conform to society but was somewhat limited in my skin darkening choices:
-I couldn't lie out on my front lawn because I would probably get shot. Also since skin cancer is the only family heirloom that my family seems to pass down, I decided to veto that option.
-Fake and bake was another choice that I didn't want to mess, again, with skin cancer running amuck in my genetics.
-Spray tan, I had watched "Bride Wars" and there was no way I was going to risk looking like a construction cone. Or end up looking like Fabio (he has a much better body than I do, he can pull off orange). And I just didn't want to spend the money.
-wal-mart, I could just try my luck with with a $6.00 bottle of self tanning lotion.
Tan in 2008:
I went with wal-mart. My sister, Logan, and I decided to give it a try. Before I bought the lotion I researched a little bit to see what the most successful tanning lotions were. I read people's accounts, do's/do not's and prepared myself for making a decision that would last 7-14 days.
One of the biggest boo-boo's that people talked about was being careful not put too much lotion on their elbows, knees or heels. I noted that very carefully and also saw it on the warnings from the bottle of tanning lotion I eventually bought.
Logan was not so fortunate as to pay attention to the label. I found myself with a nice, comfortable sun-kissed look to my pasty man legs. Logan enjoyed two weeks of African-American knees and elbows. She was pretty mad, I laughed then she tackled me like it was my fault.
Tan in 2009:
My good friend, Vonda, called me on Friday evening and asked me if I wanted to do something wild and crazy. Now wild and crazy might have been fun about 10 years ago but I tend to get a little worried at the combination of the two words. They could range from getting a brazilian wax (done that) to sky jumping (will never do that, I'd rather sleep in a cage with rats than let my feet leave the ground. Why jump out of a perfectly good airplane?).
Vonda wanted to go get spray on tans because she was going out for her birthday and wanted sexy tan legs. I volunteered to go with but I wasn't really interested in spray on tans for myself. Eventually I gave in to peer pressure. Saturday morning found us at European Tan. We were greeted by two, tan blonds with big boobs. Awesome, as I self consciously crossed my arms over my flat, white chest.
Vonda chose that option of immediate color. I went for a clear spray that would develop over a few hours. Vonda went first, 15 minutes later she walked out looking like a little Mexican senorita. I didn't recognize her at first. "Do I look orange?" she asked. "No." I answered truthfully, she did not look orange she was just very very brown. We looked at each other and our eyes widened as one of the blonds said "Don't worry, you won't stay this color it will darken by tomorrow." Vonda searched for a chair so she wouldn't pass out. "Your turn." the blond said to me. I slowly followed her down the hall. I felt like I was walking the green mile on my way to be electrocuted. "Am I going to be that dark?" I asked. "Yeah, that will be the color you'll turn out." she said. "I don't want to be that color, I just want to be able to wear a skirt and not blind people with my legs."
"Don't worry, you'll look great." she said. I didn't believe her.
I walked into the little room that was to transform me and found myself staring at a machine that looked like a teleporter from Star Trek (I momentarily warmed up to the idea. Beam me up Scotty). The blond gave me a long list of instructions followed by a quick demonstration on the four positions to stand in when you get sprayed:
Position 1- Face the nosel with arms in L shaped turned downward
Position 2- Turn to the right and pose like an Egyptian
Position 3- Turn to the left and pose like and Egyptian
Position 4- Back to the noel with arms in L shape turned downward
Easy enough? No, it's not. I stripped down nakey trying to come up with a good excuse to run out of the room but as I turned I caught sight of my white, nakey rear-end reflecting in the circus mirror that are strategically placed to make bums look 3 x's bigger than they really are. Heavens help us all. That was all it took for me to jump in the the tanning teleporter, if a tan couldn't help my bum nothing would. I pushed the flashing green button.
"Assume position 1." The tanning teleporter directed. Ok, position 1. A cold spray hit me as I clenched my eyes close and tried not to scream.
"Position 2." the voice told me. "Walk like an Egyptian" flashed through my brain.
"Position 3." This was old hat, I had it down no problems.
"Postion 4." My little cheekies clenched involuntarily as the cold spray followed by a squirt of cold air swept over my body.
Was I done? I prepared to jump out when the tanning teleporter said "Assume position 1." Ok, maybe I'm getting another spray. I swiftly posed in position 1, cold spray. "Position 2..." I turned to the right and did my best Egyptian pose "...with your back to the spray." Before I could react I was sprayed my eyes wide and my mouth open.
I quickly went to position 3, praying that I'd get another spray. No, it was not meant to be. I had been sprayed a second time on just the left side of my body. Panic filled my being as I jumped out of the cursed tanning teleporter and desperately tried to wipe the left side of my body off.
I quickly put my clothes on before I was dry which resulted in me walking straight/spraddle legged out of the salon.
And so Vonda left the salon as a senorita and I left waddling with my left side tanned darker than my right. We had accomplished our wild and crazy adventure.
*I later learned that the second spray that I was subjected to was only a moisturizer. I ended up with a lovely tan that slowly faded over the course of the week leaving me with a single stripe down my front.
PS: It did make my bum look smaller. Now what do I do to make my chest look bigger?